What should kids learn about Abraham Lincoln?
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Besides the famous historical facts, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation, the accomplishments of the Lincoln Administration toward abolishing slavery and keeping the North and South from splitting, the important lessons to be learned about Lincoln’s presidency are his rise from log-cabin beginning, and especially his success from a non-personal drive, an example of the often neglected path of selflessness, rather than an egoistic, self-absorbed drive for superiority. Lincoln simply looked around him at what America needed, rather than what he needed. We as parents and educators often overemphasize personal drives and self-aggrandizement as the only path to success in this world, but Lincoln is a great example of another path, another way to act in the world. Even if exaggerated by revisionist historians, Lincoln’s humility and simplicity –writing the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope, his log-cabin youth, etc.—are antithetical to the free enterprise rules of self-promotion, dog-eat-dog practice, and indifference to the fate of those we step on as we rise.
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